“Food is one part of the experience. And it has to be somewhere between 50 to 60 percent of the dining experience. But the rest counts as well: The mood, the atmosphere, the music, the feeling, the design, the harmony between what you have on the plate and what surrounds the plate.” – Alain Ducasse
AKA, which simply stands for ‘Also Known As’, is the first ever restaurant venture by the fashion brand ‘ Love from India’, that began functioning in November 2015. It’s just a mere coincidence, indeed an amazing one, that the restaurant name matches the initials of the name of the owner, Aditya Kumar Agarwal.
AKA attempts to amalgamate Food and Fashion and how! Their menu that’s been revamped just a month and a half ago, is not just designed to resemble a stylishly designed fashion magazine but even the food and beverages are interestingly named after fashion terminologies. While the head chef Anil Nair is the mastermind in the kitchen, the ambience and decor is all courtesy the brilliance of the renown fashion designer sibling in the family.
Located bang opposite Nehru planetarium in a quiescent bylane in Worli, AKA quietly exudes charm right from it’s entrance by blending so well into the un-boisterous environment that it would be quite easy to miss this one had it not been for their bright nameplate lying rather low on one of the compound walls. The outside dining area boasts a variety of plantations and flower pots arranged along the wall. The garden also comprises of patches of fresh micro-greens like Amaranth, etc which they also use in their kitchen. The air-conditioned dining area is extremely classy, poise and bright with a vibrant decor, comfortable seating arrangements with bright and colourful cushions, framed hand-stitched garments hanging on the walls, adequate lighting, a large bar counter on one end of the hall, and an interactive live desserts counter where one can witness their desserts being crafted in front of their eyes. That the interior designing is done by a fashion designer is clearly evident!
This vodka based molecular cocktail comprising of Absolut, apricot brandy, cranberry infused tea, kaffir lime leaves and infused with rosemary orange zest smoke had a deliciously sharp acidic taste followed by sweetness courtesy the cranberries, which totally overpowered the rest of the ingredients in the concotion including the vodka, making it taste as good as a cranberry based juice which was a little bit of a let down.
This mildly citrusy whisky based molecular cocktail consisted of teacher’s whisky shaken with triple sec, apple infused tea and mint and enhanced with the subtle citrus flavour of the lemongrass basil smoke which was effectively satisfying and stimulating the senses.
The chicken wings served here were very much different from the ones that I had tasted elsewhere. Albeit their tiny size, the wings were absolutely delish to taste with a crispy fried exterior and succulently cooked tender and juicy chicken meat within. The blue cheese glaze gave a hint of sharp and salty flavor which totally enhanced the overall taste of this dish.
Grilled jumbo prawns with a mildly spicy marination were served to us tossed in some creamy and luscious anchovy butter that gave the prawns a subtle boost taste wise by making the mildly spicy flavour of the prawns more bold and strong.
This one consisted of thinly sliced raw beef meat, topped with dollops of smooth and creamy roasted walnut cream, tiny blobs of spicy but cold, rustic and coarse green Salsa Verde along with some parmesan shavings. The natural sweetness of the raw meat was very well complimented by the hint of spice imparted by the salsa, making this a very well balanced and delish treat!
Smoked Lamb Meatballs
Minced lamb meatballs were tossed in a deliciously tangy tomato based gravy and interestingly also garnished with pistachio slivers. The meat within was unfortunately under-cooked and visibly pink, making the meatballs too chewy to taste.
Chorizo And Mascarpone
Thin crust pizza with a crispy baked edge adding a slight crunch to our bite towards the end, was topped with spicy and salty chorizo along with smooth, creamy and sweet dollops of mascarpone cheese creating a perfect balance between the flavours.
Seafood With Aioli
Yet another thin crust pizza with a crispy baked edge was topped with succulent and juicy prawns, squid and tuna fish meat, aioli and just the right amount of cheese that not only bonded the toppings well but also enhanced the flavour of the pizza.
Chicken Leg Risotto
This one was clearly the winner amongst all the dishes that we tasted that evening! The creamy and sticky consistency of the arborio rice cooked to perfection, having a garlicky flavour and a herby freshness, and the juicy and succulent chunks of chicken teamed up well to constitute this masterpiece!
This dish traditionally of the French origin comprising of lamb meat that was said to be braised for hours and hours, turned out to be a major disappointment as it was way too chewy and non tender, the spicy but almost runny gravy being the only saving grace. The dry slices of brown bread served along with it, did the dish no good either.
Almond And Coriander Crusted Fish
A thick and juicy fillet of fish with a nutty and slightly crispy crust courtesy the crushed almonds and coriander dressing, rested atop a mildly tangy but cold, predominantly tomato based ratatouille containing other sautéed exotic vegetables served on a bed of steamed cous cous in a pool of thick and smooth mustard cream. Though the mustard cream well complemented the otherwise dry couscous, quite paradoxical to it’s name, it totally missed out on the flavour of mustard and was rather flavourless.
This was again a let down with it’s tough and chewy chunks of meat dressed in a mildly tangy sauce which was again served with some steamed cous cous.The dry and grainy consistency of the couscous which would have been a delight to taste otherwise, when teamed up with the chewy meat chunks instead made the dish completely unpleasant to taste.
Sugar-free Panna Cotta
The Panna cotta with it’s perfect consistency and smooth finish had no added flavour in particular or even a slight sweetness for that matter, but still turned out to be a delish treat, courtesy the pool of mango coulee that it rested in, along with some sliced mango, small mango flavoured beads and some strips of mango leather or aam papad.
Chocolate Gianduja Mousse
This pyramid shaped chocolate mousse was made of Gianduja chocolate, an Italian variety of chocolate which had the perfect bitter and sweet taste but it somehow lacked the fluffy, airy and smooth consistency of a mousse.
Ecuadorian Chocolate Slab
This deliciously bitter dark chocolate slab was topped with plenty of powdered pistachios, a faintly sour crème fraiche and sticky toffee sauce glaze, was yet another delight to taste!
Yet another sugar free dessert that this was, this one was their version of the Italian variant of the famed French dessert. Though they had got all the elements and the concept right with the layers of crispy puff pastry sheets alternating the layers of whipped cream in between and topped with blueberry compote, the relatively measly amount of whipped cream alternating the layers was a little bit of a let down.
The extremely humble, polite, well experienced and very knowledgeable manager Mr. Varun and his crew efficiently manage the place, are extremely courteous and wonderful hosts. The service is very heart warming and welcoming. Our feedback (good and bad) and suggestions regarding the food were not only taken very constructively but also did they ensure time and again that we were having a good time!
Food quality – 3.5/5
Food quantity – 3.5/5
Ambience – 4.5/5
Service – 4.5/5